The Xbox “720” Controller - My Thoughts Regarding It

Posted by snake911 (164 posts) -

I was thinking about this the other day and decided to share my thoughts about it.

Before I begin I would like to note a few things.  1) Anything described below are only ideas I thought about.  This is has nothing to do with any rumors or speculation on what’s in store for the next generation console.  2) Don’t talk about fight club.  3) I believe this discussion needed some illustrations, so I photoshopped a few images to help visualize what I’m talking about.  The quality of the images are not important (I did not want to spend a whole lot of time making perfect images).  4) Yes, I agree.  It’s very, very early to start talking about next gen consoles, but I wanted to explain what my thoughts were for the system.  Now let us begin!

I was wondering what Microsoft was conjuring up for their successor to the 360.  Primarily, I was thinking about the controller.  What are they planning to do differently compared to the current controller for the Xbox 360?  What kind of new functionality can we get out of the new system to consider it “next gen,” but still keeping the control layout similar to the current one?  Should it include a new type of feature that might propel Microsoft into a market they have not yet ventured into before?  Well, I came up with a list of items that I think will suffice most of what I have just explained.  If you don’t want to read the details and just want a summary of what I’m about to explain, go to the very bottom of this blog entry.

Display

Yes, a screen will be placed on the controller and this will be the primary new item for it.  The display will be the center object for most of the ideas I have for the “720” controller.  It
The Xbox 720 controller
will replace the Xbox Guide button, but will have the same functionality (explained later).  First off, the display will be an OLED screen.  One of the primary advantages of using OLED compared to an LCD display is that it consumes less power.  Obviously this means better battery life.  This will be definitely needed if a wireless controller were to have a screen put on it.  The size of the display would be approximately 1.46 in × 1.02 in (37 mm × 26 mm).  This is the same size of the display for the Dreamcast’s VMU.  The screen size would be big enough to be used without straining the eyes, but small enough to fit onto a controller that’s roughly the same as the 360s controller.
The display will have two physical purposes.  One is to be used as a, well, screen, so that the player can see the images that are going to be displayed on it.  The second is to be used as a button.  Similar to the SurePress feature for the Blackberry Storm, when the display is pressed down, it will give the player the felling as if they pressed down on a physical button.  Pressing down on the display will give the same functionally as the Xbox Guide button does for the current Xbox 360 controller.  Double-clicking the screen will show the controller number and the battery life.  The screen will display colors and will not be a touch screen.  The player will also have the ability to adjust the brightness of the display.
While on XBL, the player's gamercard will be displayed onto the screen

When the Xbox is not online, the display will show the Xbox’s “X” symbol.  When logged into Xbox Live, it will show a mini version of your gamercard (gamertag, gamer picture, and gamerscore) along with an envelope if you have a new message.

Battery

The battery will be internal and non-replaceable.  It can be charged whenever it’s attached to either the console or a PC via a USB cable.


Internal flash memory

This will be used so the player can store Micro games onto the controller.  The storage could be a few gigabytes in size.


“Micro Games”
A box for a console game displaying that it supports Micro games

Similar to the VMU for the Dreamcast, the controller will have the ability to store “Micro games” onto its internal flash memory.  This will allow Microsoft to enter into the handheld console gaming market.  They will call it “Micro games” as opposed to “mini games” because it will offer more than just a bunch of short played games.  It will be a new feature that supports a game that is played on the 720 console.  The controller will actually be the handheld gaming console when considering Micro games.  This means you can play the Micro game without the need of the main console.  After transferring the Micro game from the 720 console onto the internal memory on the controller, just put your 720 controller into your backpack and play the Micro game while on the go!  The console game will have to support this feature in order to have a Micro game on the controller.

Below are a few examples of the main console games supporting the Micro games feature:
- An RPG game.  Are you going on a trip, but want to build up some experience for your character?  The Micro game will have a few mini quests that will, along the way, allow you to gain some experience points when battling monsters.  When you get back from your trip and connect your controller back to the 720 console, all of the experience points and items you have acquired when playing the Micro game will be transferred back to the main game that’s played on the console.
- A fighting game. Micro game will offer a training mode so you can practice learning moves for characters when you are not going to be near a console for a while.  Great for
…while the Micro game for it might be simpler
The graphics for the game on the console will look amazing…
practicing during your lunch break while you are at work.  The display will show the character you have chosen and he/she will execute the moves you wanted the character to perform.
- Driving games.  Have the ability to modify the performance of your car.  All modifications will be applied back to the main console game.  Track maps can also be available so you can memorize the track layout.

In conclusion, Micro games will get the best of both worlds.  It’s not a watered-down console gaming experience (PSP), and it’s not just a bunch of mini games (DS).


Speaker

The controller will have stereo speakers and will probably be placed somewhere underneath the controller.  Speakers will be used for the Micro games.


GPU

To render graphics onto the screen.  Will be able to render 2D and 3D graphics.


“Gameplay Supplement”

When playing a game on the Xbox 720, the screen on the controller will display custom animations or images that will enhance the gameplay.
Resident Evil game supporting “Gameplay Supplement” feature

Below are some examples demonstrating this:
- When playing a football game, a series of images will be displayed on the screen of the controller.  The team’s helmet that the player selected will be displayed.  Next will show the current score for each team.  An event such as a touchdown, safety, or interception will trigger the screen to show some crazy and wacky type of animation (something similar to what would be displayed on the big screen at an actual football game).
- A game like Resident Evil could show health status and number of bullets remaining in the clip.
- A fighting game will display the character that the player chose.


Well, that’s everything I wanted to discuss with you.  Could any of this really be implemented into a controller? Will it be difficult for developers to create material for these features?  Does anyone care for this stuff? I don’t know!?  What do you think?  I would like to hear your opinions on this.


Summary

- OLED will replace the Xbox Guide button
- OLED screen will be a click screen.  Similar to the Blackberry Storm.  Clicking down on the screen gives the same functionality as the Xbox Guide button does for the current Xbox 360 controller.
- Brightness controller for the screen
- Internal rechargeable battery
- “Micro Games” – A VMU type game that will enhance a console game.  Can be played without the console.  Take it on the go.
- Similarly design to the 360 controller (they have already found the “perfect” design), except that it might be a little bit taller on the top to accommodate a slightly larger screen.
- Display on the controller will show the player’s gamercard when logged into Xbox Live
- When playing a console game, screen will display custom animations or images that will enhance gameplay.
    - Madden Football = the team’s helmet that the player selected will be displayed.
    - Resident Evil = shows health status and/or number of bullets left in the clip.
- Internal flash memory to store “Micro games”
- Tiny speaker(s) for mini games (similar to either the PSP or iPhone)
- GPU to render graphics onto the screen.

#1 Posted by snake911 (164 posts) -

I was thinking about this the other day and decided to share my thoughts about it.

Before I begin I would like to note a few things.  1) Anything described below are only ideas I thought about.  This is has nothing to do with any rumors or speculation on what’s in store for the next generation console.  2) Don’t talk about fight club.  3) I believe this discussion needed some illustrations, so I photoshopped a few images to help visualize what I’m talking about.  The quality of the images are not important (I did not want to spend a whole lot of time making perfect images).  4) Yes, I agree.  It’s very, very early to start talking about next gen consoles, but I wanted to explain what my thoughts were for the system.  Now let us begin!

I was wondering what Microsoft was conjuring up for their successor to the 360.  Primarily, I was thinking about the controller.  What are they planning to do differently compared to the current controller for the Xbox 360?  What kind of new functionality can we get out of the new system to consider it “next gen,” but still keeping the control layout similar to the current one?  Should it include a new type of feature that might propel Microsoft into a market they have not yet ventured into before?  Well, I came up with a list of items that I think will suffice most of what I have just explained.  If you don’t want to read the details and just want a summary of what I’m about to explain, go to the very bottom of this blog entry.

Display

Yes, a screen will be placed on the controller and this will be the primary new item for it.  The display will be the center object for most of the ideas I have for the “720” controller.  It
The Xbox 720 controller
will replace the Xbox Guide button, but will have the same functionality (explained later).  First off, the display will be an OLED screen.  One of the primary advantages of using OLED compared to an LCD display is that it consumes less power.  Obviously this means better battery life.  This will be definitely needed if a wireless controller were to have a screen put on it.  The size of the display would be approximately 1.46 in × 1.02 in (37 mm × 26 mm).  This is the same size of the display for the Dreamcast’s VMU.  The screen size would be big enough to be used without straining the eyes, but small enough to fit onto a controller that’s roughly the same as the 360s controller.
The display will have two physical purposes.  One is to be used as a, well, screen, so that the player can see the images that are going to be displayed on it.  The second is to be used as a button.  Similar to the SurePress feature for the Blackberry Storm, when the display is pressed down, it will give the player the felling as if they pressed down on a physical button.  Pressing down on the display will give the same functionally as the Xbox Guide button does for the current Xbox 360 controller.  Double-clicking the screen will show the controller number and the battery life.  The screen will display colors and will not be a touch screen.  The player will also have the ability to adjust the brightness of the display.
While on XBL, the player's gamercard will be displayed onto the screen

When the Xbox is not online, the display will show the Xbox’s “X” symbol.  When logged into Xbox Live, it will show a mini version of your gamercard (gamertag, gamer picture, and gamerscore) along with an envelope if you have a new message.

Battery

The battery will be internal and non-replaceable.  It can be charged whenever it’s attached to either the console or a PC via a USB cable.


Internal flash memory

This will be used so the player can store Micro games onto the controller.  The storage could be a few gigabytes in size.


“Micro Games”
A box for a console game displaying that it supports Micro games

Similar to the VMU for the Dreamcast, the controller will have the ability to store “Micro games” onto its internal flash memory.  This will allow Microsoft to enter into the handheld console gaming market.  They will call it “Micro games” as opposed to “mini games” because it will offer more than just a bunch of short played games.  It will be a new feature that supports a game that is played on the 720 console.  The controller will actually be the handheld gaming console when considering Micro games.  This means you can play the Micro game without the need of the main console.  After transferring the Micro game from the 720 console onto the internal memory on the controller, just put your 720 controller into your backpack and play the Micro game while on the go!  The console game will have to support this feature in order to have a Micro game on the controller.

Below are a few examples of the main console games supporting the Micro games feature:
- An RPG game.  Are you going on a trip, but want to build up some experience for your character?  The Micro game will have a few mini quests that will, along the way, allow you to gain some experience points when battling monsters.  When you get back from your trip and connect your controller back to the 720 console, all of the experience points and items you have acquired when playing the Micro game will be transferred back to the main game that’s played on the console.
- A fighting game. Micro game will offer a training mode so you can practice learning moves for characters when you are not going to be near a console for a while.  Great for
…while the Micro game for it might be simpler
The graphics for the game on the console will look amazing…
practicing during your lunch break while you are at work.  The display will show the character you have chosen and he/she will execute the moves you wanted the character to perform.
- Driving games.  Have the ability to modify the performance of your car.  All modifications will be applied back to the main console game.  Track maps can also be available so you can memorize the track layout.

In conclusion, Micro games will get the best of both worlds.  It’s not a watered-down console gaming experience (PSP), and it’s not just a bunch of mini games (DS).


Speaker

The controller will have stereo speakers and will probably be placed somewhere underneath the controller.  Speakers will be used for the Micro games.


GPU

To render graphics onto the screen.  Will be able to render 2D and 3D graphics.


“Gameplay Supplement”

When playing a game on the Xbox 720, the screen on the controller will display custom animations or images that will enhance the gameplay.
Resident Evil game supporting “Gameplay Supplement” feature

Below are some examples demonstrating this:
- When playing a football game, a series of images will be displayed on the screen of the controller.  The team’s helmet that the player selected will be displayed.  Next will show the current score for each team.  An event such as a touchdown, safety, or interception will trigger the screen to show some crazy and wacky type of animation (something similar to what would be displayed on the big screen at an actual football game).
- A game like Resident Evil could show health status and number of bullets remaining in the clip.
- A fighting game will display the character that the player chose.


Well, that’s everything I wanted to discuss with you.  Could any of this really be implemented into a controller? Will it be difficult for developers to create material for these features?  Does anyone care for this stuff? I don’t know!?  What do you think?  I would like to hear your opinions on this.


Summary

- OLED will replace the Xbox Guide button
- OLED screen will be a click screen.  Similar to the Blackberry Storm.  Clicking down on the screen gives the same functionality as the Xbox Guide button does for the current Xbox 360 controller.
- Brightness controller for the screen
- Internal rechargeable battery
- “Micro Games” – A VMU type game that will enhance a console game.  Can be played without the console.  Take it on the go.
- Similarly design to the 360 controller (they have already found the “perfect” design), except that it might be a little bit taller on the top to accommodate a slightly larger screen.
- Display on the controller will show the player’s gamercard when logged into Xbox Live
- When playing a console game, screen will display custom animations or images that will enhance gameplay.
    - Madden Football = the team’s helmet that the player selected will be displayed.
    - Resident Evil = shows health status and/or number of bullets left in the clip.
- Internal flash memory to store “Micro games”
- Tiny speaker(s) for mini games (similar to either the PSP or iPhone)
- GPU to render graphics onto the screen.

#2 Posted by Rowr (5474 posts) -

that would actually be pretty cool.

#3 Posted by MB (11902 posts) -

Cool, but I don't want the console to cost $599 US Dollars, let alone the controller.

Moderator
#4 Posted by merlinisg0d (21 posts) -

wow, you really thought this out....

#5 Edited by Discorsi (1390 posts) -

No.  The only use that screen could have would be for multimedia purposes and even then it would not be worth it.  Nobody looks at their controller while playing a game, no one.  What is the use of your gamerscore on the screen while you are on the dashboard when it is already right fucking there.  Even if you receive a message during a game you will still need to stop and look at your little screen.  What is the difference between that and opening up the menu thing during the game.  Micro games sounds like an even dumber idea.  Why would anyone want to carry around a big bulky controller with such a small screen to play games on the go.  That is unfeasible.

#6 Posted by Weltal (2272 posts) -

Interesting but seeing as I've already gone through this with the Dreamcast I'd be pretty skeptical about the actual usage. For starters, the actual price to produce one of those. Wireless controllers are already $60 which is fucking insane, paying more doesn't seem like a good investment. Secondly there's the issue of it simply being a distraction. Having a little image, possibly moving, would be annoying, and turning it off kinda defeats the purpose of it being there in the first place. Finally the actual use from such a thing, as with the Dreamcast's VMU, is sketchy. I don't want to play a crappy mini-game on my controller, I have REAL games to do this. And with the above mentioned reasons I can't see why anyone would want something like this on their controller.

#7 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -

Actually, when Resident Evil 2&3 were ported to the Dreamcast they had the exact functionality you described on the VMU screen.
As for the concept itself, I think that it's a good idea. However, I really don't want to think about how much that controller would cost. (considering standard Xbox 360 controllers are already $50)

Online
#8 Posted by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

Pretty dumb idea. I thought about this type of thing too. But it seems too gimmicky.  I don't  want to play micro games, or check my health by looking down and getting distracted. Sorry it I am being harsh, but I think this type of thing would be cool, then get old fast.

#9 Posted by snake911 (164 posts) -

Yeah, you’re right.  It would be a bit pricey for a controller to have all of those features put on it.

Thanks for your opinions! Either it being positive or negative. I was curious to see what the community thought about it.

#10 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

While all that sounds cool...it failed with the Dreamcast.  I think the one idea that I hate more than anything on there is the idea of an internal, non-replacable battery.  While that works in theory, battery packs are the best way to go for Microsoft, both from a consumer standpoint and from a business standpoint.  The biggest part of it is the high attach rate, which means more money in their pockets for a minimal amount of R&D, as well as development.  I'm also looking at it from a standpoint of my workplace, as we have 20 Xbox 360 consoles that are all between 60-75 feet away from the actual screen (well, maybe not THAT far, but we use 60-75 foot HDMI cables).  We can't possibly charge the controller at the console, as it would be a lot of clutter.  I mean, look at the clutter it already has now:


When we first put the consoles in...
Now, we've got bigger box fans on top (as well as those orange tubes there leading to the air conditioning ducts are slightly bigger).  As you can see, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for us to use controllers with an internal, non-replacable battery.  Granted, most people don't use this type of setup.  However, that doesn't mean peoples' options should be limited like that.  If they wanted to release a controller that HAD that option, then it would be pretty cool.  Don't FORCE people into it, however.

Another problem with what you have is failure rate.  The controller for the 360, personally, is the best controller out there.  It's ergonomic, simple to use, everything is well placed, and it doesn't look like shit.  After using a 360 controller for so long, grabbing a Sony controller felt so weird and wrong to me.  That's just a personal thing...whatever, I'm getting off on a tangent.  Anyways, putting a screen in the middle could potentially cause a lot of problems, including but not limited to failure rates that result in having to buy brand new controllers...unless Microsoft offered a worthwhile replacement plan that didn't take seven weeks for a new controller.  Why mess with a good thing?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Sony has made minimal upgrades over the years to their controllers, and the same can be said with Microsoft's controllers from the Duke to the Type S to the 360 controller.

Needless to say, I just can't agree with your ideas.  While they are inventive while being a bit of a rip-off from the Dreamcast, it's just not a logical choice.
#11 Posted by SmugDarkLoser (4619 posts) -

I'm not really crazy about that but having a snap on for the controller that would let you modifty stats and whatnot could be neat

#12 Posted by BigDo6 (166 posts) -

Dreamcast 2? Yes please...

#13 Edited by Hangid (104 posts) -
BigDo6 said:
"Dreamcast 2? Yes please..."
Yeah, exactly, this is the Dreamcast's controller, not the 720's.
#14 Posted by Origina1Penguin (3500 posts) -
BigDo6 said:
"Dreamcast 2? Yes please..."
#15 Posted by StaticFalconar (4849 posts) -

This just screams dreamcast and we all know how that turned out.

#16 Posted by Discorsi (1390 posts) -

The xbox 360 controller is practically a dreamcast controller anyways especially the old xbox's controller.  Just a more refined version/smaller.

#17 Posted by AndrewGaspar (2418 posts) -

I like how all of your retarded ideas for the screen for a football game are pointless. How about stating the obvious one: having play selection on the controller's screen!!!!

Anyway, this idea is stupid and will probably make for a battery suck. Why would I want to look at a 1 x 1 square inch screen when I have a 60" right in front of me?

#18 Posted by rexualhealing (255 posts) -
StaticFalconar said:
"This just screams dreamcast and we all know how that turned out."
Amazing?

Seriously, the only reason the Dreamcast failed was because Sega was on their last legs at the time and, had they not pulled out of the console market, they would've gone out of business.

The Dreamcast, while only around for a few years, hosted many now-classic games (many of which were original IP, a few of which were developed into moderately successful franchise on other consoles from that generation), pioneered online gaming with mainstream gamers through SegaNet (there are still people playing Phantasy Star Online, yo), pioneered HD gaming with the official Sega VGA box, and still has a pretty popular online homebrew software community. Not only that, but new titles were still being released for the console as late as November of last year, over 7 years after the console had been officially discontinued. My Dreamcast still gets more usage than any other console I own, thanks to homebrew emulators and media programs you can get as much functionality out of the console as you can a modded Xbox.

Not only that, but the console launch was one of the best console launches in history. Most of the launch games (especially Soulcalibur, which looks better on Dreamcast then its first two sequels did on Playstation 2) were amazing and it sold like hotcakes. According to legend, Sega couldn't keep up with demand for the console because they didn't have enough money to manufacture the amount of Dreamcasts they needed.

I really don't see why the Dreamcast has such a bad reputation with some gamers.
#19 Posted by BawlZINmotion (714 posts) -
MB said:
"Cool, but I don't want the console to cost $599 US Dollars, let alone the controller."
I was going to say.
#20 Posted by Rowr (5474 posts) -

fun fact

a dual shock 3 in australia is $100

Chainblast said:

"MB said:
"Cool, but I don't want the console to cost $599 US Dollars, let alone the controller."
I was going to say."
and a ps3 in aus isnt far off that cost once converted to USD even.

but enough of that....
#21 Posted by Matthew (1911 posts) -

Valid points, all well thought and such.  But history might have something to say...

  • Screens on the controller - already done with the Dreamcast.  Half decent idea, but it's hard dividing attention from the tele..
  • Portable version game - Tomogotchi.  However you spell it.  Popular with 12 year old girls.  PS1 tried this out (can't remember the exact name..) and didn't meet with much success.
  • OLED screen - ideally great!  But even at this size, it's still going to be improbable.  But this is Microsoft...
  • Battery - the tech hasn't improved drastically over the past few years.  You want it to power OLED, vibration, speaker, memory, wi-fi, gpu...there's only so much it can do.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about the ideas you've put down.  I just don't see the general population accepting them.
#22 Posted by DXSSI (266 posts) -

Good work all around, but really it's not something I'd like to see.  It doesn't do anything new—at all—and simply borrows from past ideas, some of which have already been attached to failed platforms.  Innovation isn't always necessary, of course, but for innovation this minimal, I'd rather see them keep using the Xbox 360 controller so we don't have to buy all new ones, thereby lowering the entry price point of the system for existing 360 owners.

#23 Posted by TwoOneFive (9459 posts) -

looks like dreamcast to me. 

#24 Posted by daniel_beck_90 (3159 posts) -

That is a neat idea but it will certainly cost a lot of money for both manufacturer and consumers 

#25 Posted by ep_driver (432 posts) -

Inventive and imaginitive, but not practical. Good shot though.

#26 Posted by Maxszy (2064 posts) -

Nice thinking. Great to see ideas flowing like this. Though I know personally, I wouldn't have any interest in "Micro Games". So I think I am going to go with those saying "Nay" on the mini LCD screen. Not even because of the price though (which could be astronomical! We don't need controllers costing any more than they do.). More also because I am curious as to what the actual purpose of this screen would be, especially when playing games. Waste of battery life too I would think.

#27 Posted by MattyFTM (14328 posts) -

This will be the Xbox 720 controller:

Moderator
#28 Posted by Captain_Insano (1522 posts) -

good detail in your post mate

#29 Posted by Jolly_Lolly (3537 posts) -

Wow, you are quite an entrepreneur I must say! Although your idea and overall concept on the controller is eye catching, I must agree with some of the negativity found from recent replies. The screen would merely distract the gamer from the bigger picture, and carrying around the Xbox's controller wouldn't exactly be "pocketeble".

However, seeing as the controller has the nicest feel to any controller to date, and it would have two analog sticks that work fantastically, I am sure that Microsoft could make some use of this as a handheld entertainment system.

#30 Posted by granderojo (1778 posts) -

I don't want that.

I want super high end console that is bare bones and just has what it needs, the more you add to it, the more it has the ability to fail with use and would jack up the cost.

I want my console makers to give me a great product while intern making something that will make them money.

This idea would not make them money, and is something I could do without.

#31 Posted by Dalai (6980 posts) -

I don't see Microsoft ripping off the Dreamcast... but I see them ripping off Nintendo.  Motion sensing is the most plausible feature to be implemented next gen.

#32 Posted by SleazyP (83 posts) -

Nice Job. I think its a cool idea for it to be used in some games and not in others. I had a Dreamcast and it was cool to do just little time waster things on the VMU. Like getting food for your Chao in Sonic Adventure for example. It wasn't distracting at all on the DC controller, so I wouldn't think it would be on this concept controller either. But the only problem would be its cost and battery drain. But all in all I like the ideas.

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